|The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago in the Willis Tower
Credit: Skydeck Chicago
|The entrance to Chicago's Navy Pier
Credit: Skydeck Chicago
Traveling here via plane, automobile, or train.
Situated squarely in the center of the country, Chicago is easy to travel to from virtually everywhere. Thanks to thousands of flights options at two international airports, six class-one railroads, a vast network of major highways and a wide variety of airlines, it is one of the most cost-competitive and convenient cities for domestic and international travel.
O'Hare International Airport, located 17 miles from downtown, is one of the largest airports in the world. It is North America's major international gateway airport, servicing over 67 million passengers to and from over 200 destinations around the globe.
Midway International Airport is located 10 miles from downtown Chicago and offers another convenient travel option for visitors. It is the nation's premier point-to-point airport, offering value-oriented leisure and business travel to over 60 destinations.
Visit flychicago.com for details on parking, amenities, flight status, terminal maps and more for both O'Hare and Midway airports.
Both airports offer plentiful taxi service to downtown and the suburbs. Rates range from $40-50 from O'Hare, and $30-40 from Midway. Rates vary based on travel time and are subject to change.
The Chicago Transit Authority serves both airports for easy and economical travel between downtown and Chicago neighborhoods using the 'L' train. The 24-hour CTA Blue Line connects directly to O'Hare and the CTA Orange Line connects directely to Midway. Read more on getting around Chicago with public transportation or visit transitchicago.com/airports for full fare information and maps.
GO Airport Express provides shared ride services to all downtown/suburban hotels and many businesses. Pair fares and group discounts are available along with customized reservation portals for your groups.
Many major car rental companies have facilities at the O'Hare and Midway Airports, including Avis, Alamo, Budget and Hertz. Please visit specific rental company websites for details.
Limousine and chauffer agencies prefer that all customers reserve cars at least 48 hours in advance although cars can occasionally be ordered with a two-hour notice. Click here for a list of available transportation services.
With it's central geopgraphic location and status as a hub for major interstates, Chicago is convenient to drive to from every region in the country. In fact, more than 20 million people live within a three-hour drive of the city.
Chicago is accessible via several major interstates and highways: I-90 (Kennedy Expressway), I-94 (Dan Ryan Expressway), I-55 (Stevenson Expressway), I-290 (Eisenhower Expressway), I-294 (Tri-State Tollway).
Use this fully-interactive parking map to search for parking options in downtown Chicago.
Greyhound Lines, Inc. is the largest provider of intercity bus transportation, serving more than 3,800 destinations with 13,000 daily departures across North America. Greyhound has five metro-Chicago locations, including two 24-hour stations and 20 express routes to major US cities.
Megabus.com is the first, low-cost, express bus service to offer city-to-city travel for as low as $1 via the Internet. Since launching in April 2006, megabus.com has served more than 22 million customers throughout more than 120 cities across North America.
Amtrak serves Chicago with about 50 trains arriving and departing daily. With 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces, the national rail operator Amtrak offers more than 300 trains each day—at high speeds up to 150 mph—to more than 500 destinations.
The South Shore Line services Chicago through Northern Indiana to the South Bend Airport. If you are planning a trip involving a large group like a school function please call for groups rates 219-874-4221 ext. 245 at least one month prior to your date of travel.
Click here to access parking information, resources and drive times for visiting Chicago by motorcoach.
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|Chicago's First Lady Architecture Cruise
Credit: Adam Alexander Photography
Find your way around the city once you are here.
Chicago is a walking city with an easy-to-navigate downtown grid. Madison Street divides the city north and south, while State Street divides it east and west. The State/Madison intersection marks the origin of Chicago's address grid system. Addresses are relative to the distance from that mark, with eight blocks to every mile. So an address of 3600 North Clark means that it is 36 blocks north of Madison.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates the nation's second largest public transportation system – serving the City of Chicago and 40 neighboring communities by rail and bus. Pay cash for single trip rides or purchase a reloadable Ventra Transit Card or Unlimited Ride Pass for added savings.
For full fare information, transit card retailers and maps, visit the Chicago Transit Authority website at transitchicago.com. Also look to their site for the latest updates to train schedules and routes that may affect your travel plans.
‘L' Trains: Not all of Chicago's eight ‘L' lines are "elevated." They do, however, connect the city via above-ground, street-level and subway trains and serve 144 rail stations all over town, making the ‘L' one of the most efficient and affordable methods of transportation available. Two lines operate 24 hours a day: the Blue Line, which connects the airport and downtown, and the Red Line, with service between the North and South Sides via downtown.
Buses: More than 100 routes lace the city; buses stop every few blocks. Several lines operate 24 hours a day. Exact change is required for cash fare.
Full Fare with Cash (bus only)
Acceptable on buses using exact change only in dollar bills or coins; no transfers available.
• Single ride: $2.25
Single Ride Disposable Ventra Ticket (bus and rail)
Ventra Tickets are good only for a limited time and cannot be loaded again once used up. Includes a full fare and two transfers (a $2.50 value), plus a $0.50 limited-use media fee.
• Single ride: $3.00
1-Day Disposable Ventra Ticket (bus and rail)
Ventra Tickets are good only for a limited time and cannot be loaded again once the value is used up. Includeds unlimited rides within 24 hours of activation.
• Unlimited rides for 24 hours: $10.00
Full Fare with Reloadable Ventra Card (bus and rail)
Transfers must occur within two hours of the first ride. Available online and at rail station vending machines.
• First ride: $2.00 (bus)
• First ride: $2.25 (rail)
• First transfer: $0.25
• Second transfer: FREE
O'Hare Station Fare (rail)
Effective January 14, 2013, a $5 O'Hare rate applies to riders paying full fare from the O'Hare Blue Line Station.
• First ride if starting at O'Hare: $5.00
• First transfer: $0.25
• Second transfer: FREE
Unlimited Ride Passes (bus and rail)
Activated on first use, passes allow unlimited rides for the specified time, offering the best travel value.
• 1-Day CTA Fun Pass: $10.00
• 3-Day CTA Pass: $20.00
• 7-Day CTA Pass: $28.00
The high-speed Metra commuter rail train connects outlying suburbs to downtown and is an easy way to get into the heart of the city fast. For exact fares and route maps, visit the Metra website at metrarail.com.
• Single trip: $2.75 and up based on zones traveled
• 10-ride pass: $27.50 and up based on zones traveled
Taxis are plentiful and easy-to-hail downtown and at the airports, and offer a convenient way to get around the city. Credit cards are accepted in all cabs by city mandate. It is standard to tip the driver about 15-20% of the fare, plus $1-2 per bag if the driver helps you with luggage. Please note that all fares are subject to change. Sample taxi fare between downtown and O'Hare Airport is $40-50, and between Midway Airport is $30-35.
You can also electronically hail (E-Hail) a taxicab through a mobile app. CHICABS offers safe and secure options for a Chicago taxicab ride. CHICABS approved apps ARRO and CURB also let passengers electronically pay (E-Pay) for the taxicab fare through the app.
• Taxis charge a base rate of $3.25, plus $1.80 for each additional mile and $0.20 for every 36 seconds of time elapsed.
• If a gas surcharge is in effect, a sign will be displayed inside the taxicab and a surcharge may apply. Tolls are an extra charge. Taxis charge $1 for the first additional passenger over age 12 and under age 65; each additional passenger after that is $0.50.
For fast, affordable and fun connections between Chicago's top tourist destinations, Chicago Water Taxi by Wendella Boats and Shoreline Water Taxi are the perfect combination of sightseeing and convenient transportation. During the warm weather season, travel on these fun water rides to popular visitor sites such as Chinatown, Museum Campus, Willis Tower, Michigan Avenue, Union Station and more. For exact fares and route maps, visit chicagowatertaxi.com or shorelinesightseeing.com/water-taxi.
• Single ride: $3.00-8.00
• Day pass: $11.00-29.00
Click here to access an interactive parking map of downtown Chicago to search for public parking lots and garages by address and points of interest.
Want to pay for parking in advance? Find the perfect Chicago parking spot by comparing price, location, and amenities. Reserve your spot now.
Looking for a way to figure out the best of all your Chicago transportation options? Download the free mobile app RideScout for real-time information right on your phone. From Divvy bike ride share stations and CTA train/bus routes, to parking spots for your car or taxi pick ups — one simple view provides total transportation time, cost and nearest point to access.
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